I always appreciate a critique that gets me to think deeper about my own path. That’s what I found in James Hunter, Neo-Anabaptists, and the Ekklesia Project. After correctly differentiating Neo-Anabaptists from both the Evangelical Left and Evangelical Right, the auther sums up James Hunter’s critique as follows:
I now turn to the way in which Hunters’ treatment of power focuses his engagement with the Neo-Anabaptists. It is here we can appreciate his skills as sociologist. He asserts that Neo-Anabaptists have a robust theology that successfully resists co-option into liberalism or American nationalism. However, in Hunter’s view, Neo-Anabaptists fail to extend this theology into a vision of Christian life within the worldly institutions that claim much of our time and energy as well as accounting for many of our neighborly relations. ‘Why do they reduce the life of Imitatio Dei to the parameters of the church?’ he asks. His critique, then, focuses on Neo-Anabaptist ecclesiology.
Hunter claims that because they fail to understand power and its pervasiveness, Neo-Anabaptists try to keep their hands clean. A focus on the church, in other words, is a way of avoiding the theological task of describing Christian involvement in such institutions as family, corporation, schools, etc., where power must be confronted.
I take this as a spur to continue my explorations into life beyond the church and beauty in the world from a Neo-Anabapist perspective.